There's no way to prepare for the shock of seeing Jessica Stam in person. Her trademark blue eyes are so electric that had she been alive during the Salem witch trials, she most certainly would've burned at the stake. World-famous designers and photographers alike have fallen under her spell. Yet, despite the 24-year-old's supermodel status, Stam is just a down-home girl from a farm in Kincardine, Ontario, the lone female among six rowdy brothers. "We had pigs, cows, and chickens—I hadn't seen a fashion magazine until I started modeling," she laughs. But after being discovered at 15 in a Tim Hortons coffee shop, she couldn't get enough of them. "I was really curious about what the industry was about," she says. "So I started flipping through fashion magazines to find out." Between studying clothes in print and wearing them on the runway, it was only a matter of time before the model would try her hand at design.
In 2008, she teamed up with Repetto shoes to create a signature flat and consulted Rag & Bone on its spring 2010 collection. Both projects were stepping stones to Stam's latest undertaking: five wardrobe essentials created with Rachel Roy for the designer's more affordable RACHEL Rachel Roy line at Macy's. Debuting this month, the collection captures the essence of a cool downtown girl. A chain-strap navy bucket bag and cozy gingham knit cardigan showcase the "nautical meets distressed military" vibe Stam was aiming for. "I had full creative control," she says. "But Rachel really stressed that whatever I made should be something I'd want to see my friends in." Since she has nearly 100,000 (and counting) followers on Twitter, something tells us Stam's close friends won't be the only ones racing to snag her designs. Could this be the launching pad for her own label? "No comment," she answers coyly. We'll go ahead and get our hopes up.
Top, $4,600, Lanvin; skirt, $29.95, H&M; bag, $199, Jessica Stam for RACHEL Rachel Roy; necklace, $58, Marc by Marc Jacobs; bracelet, $680, Giles&Brother by Philip Crangi.
Jacket, $4,445, Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquière; sweater, $330, Isabel Marant; safety-pin necklace, $58, bow necklace, $118, Marc by Marc Jacobs; thin chain necklace, $2,000, Annette Ferdinandsen. On eyes: CoverGirl LiquiLine Blast Eye Liner in Silver Spark and Maybelline New York Eye Studio Quad in Taupe Temptress.
Vest, $2,500, Thomas Wylde; dress, $1,995, Burberry Prorsum; bodysuit, $168, Tigerlily; belt, $49, Jessica Stam for RACHEL Rachel Roy; fringe necklace, $4,965, Chanel; turquoise stone necklace, $2,000, Annette Ferdinandsen; bird pendant necklace, $370, Shourouk made with Swarovski Elements; cuff, $745, J Dauphin; medallion bracelet, $420, Oscar de la Renta; black ring, $3,985, crystal ring, price upon request, Kara Ross NY.
Dress, $2,500, Yves Saint Laurent; skirt, $3,135, Miu Miu; belt, $49, Jessica Stam for RACHEL Rachel Roy; fur bracelet, $700, Louis Vuitton; gold bracelets, $595 each, Yves Saint Laurent; pinecone necklace, $630, Annette Ferdinandsen; lion pendant necklaces, $1,375 each, Helen Ficalora; dagger necklace, $185, Ransoun; dinosaur necklace, $120, Candace Ang. On face: Chanel Sheer Illuminating Fluid.
Vest, $3,350, Miu Miu; tank, $29, American Rag; skirt, $610, Just Cavalli; bag, $199, Jessica Stam for RACHEL Rachel Roy; short necklaces, $1,570 & $1,925, Annette Ferdinandsen; long necklace, $710, Helen Ficalora; bracelet, $1,865, Lanvin; brown ring, $120, HappyLand; gray ring, $95, Kara by Kara Ross; black ring, price upon request, Chanel.
Sweater, $99, Jessica Stam for RACHEL Rachel Roy; top, $115, Enza Costa; pants, $1,595, Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquière; silver wrap ring, $460, Iosselliani; spiked ring, price upon request, Chanel
Black shirt, $490, Proenza Schouler; crystal vest, price upon request, Roberto Cavalli; sheer top, $1,440, Alberta Ferretti; jeans, $89, Jessica Stam for RACHEL Rachel Roy; bra, Stam's own; shoes, $1,095, Christian Louboutin; bag, $5,000, Dior; short necklaces, $310 & $1,585, Ten Thousand Things; long necklace, $700, Matina Amanita; spiked ring, price upon request, Chanel; round ring, $240, Fendi.
Photographer: David Roemer